Public Library and Other Stories

Public Library and Other Stories

Book - 2016
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"Why are books so very powerful? What do the books we've read over our lives--our own personal libraries--make of us? What does the unraveling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us? The stories in Ali Smith's new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make. Woven between the stories are conversations with writers and readers reflecting on the essential role that libraries have played in their lives. At a time when public libraries around the world face threats of cuts and closures, this collection stands as a work of literary activism--and as a wonderful read from one of our finest authors."
Publisher: New York : Anchor, 2016
ISBN: 9781101973042
Branch Call Number: FICTION SMITH...A
Characteristics: 219 pages


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Aug 03, 2017

I've had this on my to read shelf for some years now. Late last year I finally decided it was time to put it on hold, to be picked up at the end of January. The main reason I wanted to read this was its title and my desire to find a short story collection that I really enjoyed. Since I originally chose this as a (hopefully) prime example of a collection of short stories that would get me into the habit of reading them, I have read a few that I enjoyed (luckily, considering what I thought of this). I didn't think much of the stories that I read (the first two and the last one), I didn't care about any of the characters and was irrationally irritated by the way the font would alternate between italics and standard text from one story to the next. It may just be me and my dislike of Booker prize winning writing (two of Smith's previous books were nominated, something I wasn't aware of when I made the decision to read this), or maybe this just wasn't the best choice for an admitted 'short story sceptic' *shrug* either way on to something more enjoyable.

SquamishLibraryStaff Mar 25, 2017

Weird, quirky and strange stories interspersed with commentary on the current state of Public Library funding in the UK as well as the role and value that public libraries have played and still play in the lives of readers and writers. This book is very relevant in the current crisis of funding that libraries are facing not only in the UK but in North America.

CMLReads_Laura Jan 28, 2017

Somehow Ali Smith's books always find me at the perfect time, feeling like they were written just for me. Anytime is the perfect time to read a whole book in support of libraries. A 5-star, inevitably.

Michael Colford Jan 10, 2017

Ali Smith is a cerebral and eloquent writer. Her short stories explore all manner of quirky subjects, but the root of this collection is definitely literary. As public libraries face closures all throughout England, Smith's collection is interspersed with essays and comments from her friends and colleagues on what public libraries mean to them. Then the stories themselves have at their core, books. How books impact our lives, how they stay with out both physically and mentally. It's ambitious, and delightful. A true testimony to the power of libraries. I applaud Ali for taking on a topic so dear to my own heart, and rendering it in literary flavors that challenge, and illuminate.

Dec 31, 2016

At a time when thousands of public libraries are being closed in the UK, this book celebrates reading and the democracy of the public library. There are twelve stories, interspersed with testimonies by people about the role of libraries in their lives. An excellent activism initiative.

Sep 02, 2016

A collection of short stories that are separated by brief testaments from a variety of people about the value of their public library. It was a bit fragmented for my taste but fans of Ali Smith will likely enjoy it.

Jul 08, 2016

Passionate about books and reading. Creative looping together of unrelated thoughts into profound fiction. Humane. Genius wordsmith. Ali Smith never fails to astound me.


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